I have three people to thank for inspiring these decadent treats. First of all my mom because she loves coconut and a few years ago she and my dad came to visit and so I looked up a recipe for coconut macaroons. The second person is Pranee from http://www.ilovethaicooking.wordpress.com/ because I assisted a class of hers and she had leftover sweetened condensed milk and had me take it home. Thirdly, my friend M, because she just had a birthday and is a coconut fanatic and therefore would be a willing recipient of birthday macaroons. So this recipe was a synergistic result of three lovely ladies in my life.
For the majority of my life, I was missing out on coconut mania. It never really struck a note on the heart strings...until last year. Two nights in a row, I had a dream about coconut macaroons. I would slowly sit up in the morning with the essence of coconut on my mind. I remember walking to work with thoughts of macaroons drifting in and out. I even thought I got a whiff of them. So finally I made my way to Whole Foods to buy a gigantic chocolate covered macaroon. And I haven't turned back. Instant love.
So naturally, I keep a bag stored in my freezer for emergency situations or birthdays. The original recipe is for straight up macaroons. But why not add a little extra with some chocolate. So you can make them with or without the chocolate. Either way, close your eyes, take a bit, and think of sitting on a warm beach and maybe you will start dreaming about them too.
Chewy Chocolate Covered Coconut Macaroons
Makes 20-25 Macaroons
Recipe from Food Network Barefoot Contessa Family Style
14 oz shredded sweetened coconut
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 11.5 oz bag bittersweet chocolate chips (good quality ones like Ghirardelli)
1 Tbsp safflower or canola oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. In a separate small bowl, whip the egg whites and salt together with a hand mixer until they make medium to firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg mixture in with the coconut mixture until fully integrated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop small (gumball to golf ball sized) mounds onto parchement, using spoons or even better, your hands. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until coconut starts to brown. Remove from oven and cool.
If you are coating in chocolate, put the macaroons in the fridge to solidify for at least 30 minutes. To prep the chocolate, heat a large pot or deep saute pan filled with water. Heat water to a low simmer. Put a small bowl or small pot inside this to make a double boiler. (Or use a double boiler if you have one.) Put chocolate chips and oil in the small pot/bowl. Stir until the chips have melted into a nice thin sauce. Carefully dip the macaroons into the chocolate, coating as much as you want. When all of the macaroons are covered, put back in fridge to let the chocolate solidify. Share with friends and family!